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The Joint Commission Issues Report on New and Revised Pain Assessment and Management Standards

New study: There’s no consensus

Every day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. As part of a national effort to address the opioid crisis, The Joint Commission is implementing new and revised pain assessment and management standards, effective January 1, 2018. The standards are applicable to all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals. 

To help hospitals better understand and comply with the pain standards, The Joint Commission has released a new R3 Report. The report provides in-depth rationale, references, and evidence that The Joint Commission employed in the development of the new and revised requirements.

The pain standards appear in the Leadership; Medical Staff; Provision of Care, Treatment, and Services; and Performance Improvement chapters of the hospital accreditation manual. They require hospitals to identify pain assessment and pain management as a priority; actively involve medical staff in leadership roles in organization performance improvement activities to improve care, treatment, and services; assess and manage patients’ pain and minimize the risks associated with treatment; and collect, compile, and analyze data to monitor performance.

“In addition to addressing pain assessment and management, a critical patient safety and quality concern, this report is the first to introduce the R3 Report publication’s new format. This new format includes more robust and easy-to-use information, as well as a rationale statement for each Element of Performance, which are specific actions, processes, or structures that must be implemented to achieve the goal of a standard,” said Mary Brockway, Director, Department of Standards and Survey Methods, Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission, in a press release. “This rationale statement allows us to go into even more depth beyond what may be found in the hospital accreditation manual to further help hospitals comply with the new and revised standards.”

The new format also reviews engagement with stakeholders, customers, and experts by providing direct links to the members of the related technical advisory panel and standards review panel.

The R3 Report is available on The Joint Commission website at

Source: The Joint Commission; August 30, 2017.

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